On Obama vs Obama – The First American Presidential Debate

All this debate hoopla between Willard “Mitt aka Obama 2.0″ Romney and Barack “Socialist Kenyan Muslim” Obama has really gotten out of hand. Sure, I enjoyed the memes about angry Big Birds, the Jim Lehrer incompetence rants, and the fact everyone was getting so worked up on Obama 2.0 supposedly beating Prez Obama to a pulp in last night’s debate.

But to be honest, I was more excited that the New York Yankees are going to the World Series again and how Ben Bernanke‘s QE3+ is causing inflation in Hong Kong. Since QE3+ was announced with the intention of propping up the stagnant American economy until unemployment drops to 5.5% (ROFL), inflation in Hong Kong has increased around 5-10% and the real estate bubble has gotten to the point where the government is getting involved to deflate it. Also, the price of food has increased and the HKD is going to lose more value against the Renminbi.

Note to self: begin splitting half of my HKD holdings in the bank into RMB to hedge against more damage from QE3+.

For all the theatrics and political WWF-style wrestling in the debate, neither Romney nor Obama really said anything substantial. Obama was just being passive as usual while Romney just pulled numbers out of nowhere and made them real with his confidence and photogenic smile. And yes, we now know Romney is a capable multitasker because he was able to both moderate the debate and hand Obama his ass at the same time.

I can say all these things while others are getting worked up over comments on their debate posts to the point of deleting either the comments, posts or even dropping a contact or two because I am not going to vote in November. Yes, I am not going to vote. No absentee ballots, no online voting and no write-ins for you-know-who and that Johnson fellow. Full disclosure, I voted for Obama in 2008 and it didn’t seem to pay off in any way so I am not voting for him or his Obama 2.0 (Romney) tool presented by the GOP. Even if I voted, my vote would be just filtered down to a handful of electoral votes that would go to Obama and my supposed absentee ballot will take its sweet time to pass customs to be added to the totals.

So no, I am not going to vote on November 6th. Conversely, I have no plans to play Halo4 that day either. I am just going to go to work, focus on the work, attend a few client meetings, have lunch with colleagues, and then head home to exercise and read a William Gibson novel or even one from Phillip K. Dick. Not voting on election day by choice will be one of the most American things I will do since becoming a naturalised citizen of the United States of America.

Thank you and I love Big Bird too.

Hong Kong Healthcare vs. American Healthcare

Hong Kong Healthcare vs. American Healthcare

Earlier this week I caught the flu as a result of being exposed to the typhoon and from heavy use of air conditioners. The symptoms of the flu were different from the typical flu because although I didn’t get the fever, I was having a bad case of an infected throat, coughing, stuffy nose, and a stomach virus. The stomach virus didn’t come out until after I had a traditional Chinese dinner at the grim and gritty part of Kowloon.

When the symptoms started appearing, I was hesitant to go to a nearby clinic since I was uninsured. Instead I went to buy a bottle of Methodex cough syrup and drank hot water in the hopes this would stop the cough. After 2 days, I started getting feverish and decided to go to the local clinic after insistence from my relative. I honestly did not want to go for fear of being price gouged for just a few minutes of meeting with the doctor and for the fear of having to pay a great deal for the prescription medicines.

When I went to see the doctor at the clinic, he was able to diagnose my flu and proceeded to give me a list of medication to fight it. The final bill for the visit was at $240HKD, which is roughly $31USD, and the fee included the prescription medicine. If I had local health insurance in HK, the entire doctor’s fee would be fully covered. It was shocking that I only had to pay around $31 just for a doctor’s visit and prescription medication despite being uninsured. If this was America, I would have to pay around $20 just for the co-pay and then more funds to get the prescription medicine. Otherwise, I would be paying somewhere close to the $100s if I was uninsured.

One more thing to note is that in Hong Kong, the doctors and pharmacists only give the amount of medication prescribed by the doctor. For example, if the doctor only prescribed 3 days’ worth of medicine, the pharmacist would only give 3 days’ worth of medication with the assumption the patient would use all of it within that time. This is not only a way to prevent medication from being wasted but a great way to control costs of prescription medication. In America, doctors would simply prescribe the medicine and the pharmacist would give you the entire package with the assumption the patient would simply stopped using it when all symptoms disappear. The problem with this approach is that the patient is buying unnecessary amounts of medicine and is taking on extra costs instead of just getting exactly what he or she needs per the doctor’s prescription.

Later that week, I started getting abdominal pains and had to go to the hospital to see a doctor. When I arrived, the doctor took the time to diagnose me after waiting for at least an hour, then got the nurse to inject me with anti-viral medication and gave me prescribed medication to fight the stomach virus and pains. At the end of the hospital visit, my bill came out to $580HKD or $$75 for the doctor’s consultation, anti-viral injection and prescription medicine. Also, if I was insured, the majority of this fee would be covered by the health provider with no co-pay. However, if this happened in America, I would be stuck with at least $580USD in doctor’s fees and get hounded by the hospital to pay off the fees as soon as possible. Also, keep in mind that I went to a private hospital and I learned that the government hospitals charge no more than $50HKD for treatment despite longer wait times.

So I really am confused by Americans who keep claiming that US healthcare is the “best in the world”, when it simply isn’t true. Whether the healthcare system is managed by the government, such as in Canada or France; or it has a two-tier system with a variety of options such as Hong Kong, these arrangement seem to be far more efficient than what we now have in America. Despite all the sensationalised nonsense from American media about the extremes of state-controlled healthcare or fully private healthcare, people in those places are overall content with their system compared to those in the USA.

I don’t think forcing American taxpayers to pay more taxes for being uninsured and making it mandatory to buy healthcare is the best option. It’s really clear that US healthcare is broken with their medical fees and prescription fees that are nowhere near the real market value of these goods and services. Most of all, it is simply arrogant to believe that Americans do not need to learn how the world implements their healthcare system to actually improve American healthcare on the basis of the big lie that “America is the greatest [insert noun here] in the world”.

Why I support Ron Paul

Last night I attended the Ron Paul Webster Hall grassroots rally as both an attendee and as a volunteer for the NYC Liberty HQ grassroots organisation. There was some issues leading the event, such as Pras being delayed and the last-minute additions of speakers, but overall it went will with a final count is over 1800+ in the audience and reasonable coverage from the national media outlets.

It was not always like this. Back in college, I was passionately against George W. Bush, his collaborators and his War of Terror. The people I met who mindlessly supported Bush did so with the assumption that he could do the following: protect Americans from a terrorist attack, get revenge on so-called “dirty Jesus-hating Muslims” for 9/11, stop Sharia Law from subverting Western Civilisation or because the liberals were pro-Al-Qaeda. The war to supposedly liberate Iraq from Saddam Hussein and give the Iraqis peace of mind resulted in that country being divided among religious sects, and culture along with reducing the country into a pro-Iranian proxy state.

In 2004, I supported John Kerry with the hope that he would put a stop to all the excesses of the Bush administration that took hold after 9/11 and went to new heights during the invasion of Iraq. Sadly, the majority of Americans backed Bush because they supported his new war against gay marriage, and were still out for revenge over 9/11 despite the fact that Iraq had nothing to do with the terrorist attack. It was after the elections I lost faith in Americans, believing them to have a hard-on for simple answers to complicated issues and will simply throw away their vote to anyone who says what they want to hear whether it is a lie or fabrication. It did not even help when many Republicans tolerated voter fraud simply for the sake of keeping their “Patriot” as President.

Bush’s 2004 election by the people was simply depressing. It was as if the entire country had decided to stop thinking and voted out of misguided fears and faith in a backwards and corrupt administration. I once said to a group of my classmates that Bush’s election was going to “Bring the country down to hell” and I even mentioned voting for Hilary in 2008 since I had lost that much faith in America at that time. This questionable election by questionable voters in an already rough period of my college life just made matters worse.

2007 came and I was glad that the bastard George W. Bush was going to leave power after seeding America’s decline during his years in power. I didn’t watch any of the early debates but I kept hearing on the news that the frontrunners for both the GOP and Democrats was going to be Rudy Giuliani and Hillary Clinton months before the primary campaigns started. I did not expect much from Republicans at the time so I automatically assumed Giuliani was going to be their nominee while the Democrats would just pick Hillary out of recognition. There was some guy named Barack Obama that seemed intelligent and progressive yet he lacked the influence a Clinton had. In addition, my boss at the time felt that Obama had no chance despite being well spoken and intelligent and implied it was because Americans were incapable of having a “Black President”. Ironically, I had similar thoughts since my expectation for Americans was so low that I did not think they were capable of having an ethnic minority for a President.

Then at one of the debates, a Congressman named Ron Paul got into a heated exchange with “frontrunner” Rudy Giuliani over the root causes of 9/11 and foreign policy. I was shocked to see someone in the Republican Party who actually used reason, persuasion, and logic to explain his views and make a sincere effort to educate the audience and viewers. This was something that was out of the ordinary in an American Presidential debate that usually consists of oversimplified talking points or rants about Islamofascism and 9/11. Many others felt the same way and started their own Ron Paul grassroots campaigns despite having little to no experience in the political process. I was able to find my way to a few of these events in New York City and even voted for the first time in Super Tuesday.

Ron Paul would eventually dropout after the frontrunner Rudy Giuliani, resulting in the nominee being John McCain who won because he was unscathed by his rivals. It was over for the GOP Primary but at the same time, Barack Obama somehow beat Hillary Clinton to secure the nomination as the Democratic Presidential Candidate. To be honest, I really did not follow the Democratic Primaries since I was under the assumption it was going to be Hillary like most Americans and the big media. Because Ron Paul was knocked out, I wanted to punish the GOP for being idiots and for allowing someone like Bush to reduce the country into a cesspool. This was why I voted for Barack Obama like most people who wanted something radically different, make history, and punish the GOP for being stupid.

With a leap of faith, Barack Obama because our next President and a symbol of change that so many needed after nearly 8 years of misrule by George W. Bush. Obama was so popular with the world that the Nobel Prize Committee decided to pass Liu Xiaobo over to prematurely give Obama a Nobel Peace Prize despite being just less than a month on the job. The first 100 days were exciting seeing Obama declare closing the prisons at Guantanamo Bay, getting a stimulus package passed to insulate the American-engineered Global Recession, and wind down the War of Terror.

After those 100 days, I realised nothing was getting better in my life and that very little was actually done despite all the nice speeches Obama made. Some of his fans were rabid fanboys claiming Obama is our generation’s Franklin Delano Roosevelt and that he is the culmination of years of progressive development. I became increasingly disillusioned, realising he was slow to withdraw from Iraq while at the same time escalating the conflict in Afghanistan. I was angry when Obama decided to expand Bush’s TARP bailout programme to mismanaged car companies such as GM and Chrysler. Most of all, what really lost my support was Obama’s need to keep making feel good speeches and allowing his advisers and Congressional counterparts to regularly undermine him instead of asserting himself.

Obama is a very weak President who is so afraid to take bold steps that he prefers to do next to nothing instead of offending anyone. He handpicked advisers that either defied his orders or undermined him, which resulted in administrative deadlock while the entire country continued to suffer. He decided to delegate his defining healthcare reform to Congress instead of leading its development as leader of his party and when he had a majority in Congress. This lack of leadership brought Americans a healthcare reform package resembling Romney’s Massachusetts healthcare reform with its flawed individual mandates and more regulations that increased healthcare costs.

When I keep bringing up all these problems that happened under Obama’s watch, his fans either downplay it or make personal attacks on me. In one instance when I criticised the GM/Chrysler bailout as a plan that rewarded bad management and as a loss for taxpayers, one fan kept making personal attacks claiming that I make a meager income and that I am a disgrace to my university instead of explaining why the bailout was a good plan other than because it was “Obama’s idea”, when that’s not even true. Another fan told me that economics was not a big deal since Obama still has the support of other world leaders and “isn’t Bush” despite ongoing criticisms that the stimulus was misspent or was adding to an already bloated national debt.

Other issues I had with Obama involved his need to keep Guantanamo Bay’s prisons in service, his decision to persecute Wikileaks despite their efforts to expose America’s questionable past and present actions, Obama’s move to renew the PATRIOT ACT, waging war in Libya with NATO assets despite not getting approval from Congress, and his inability to work with Congress on fiscal policy, which resulted in America’s credit downgrade. Although Obama did make some progress in appointing two female minorities into the Supreme Court, improving foreign relations, and “getting” Bin Laden, he failed in translating these achievements into tangible benefits for Americans. In addition, it seemed like despite these missteps, Obama and his fans did not seem to care because they expect everyone to reelect him with the impression that the GOP is incapable of nominating someone who would take him on.

This was true until Gary Johnson first announced his 2012 campaign and later when Ron Paul announced he was also running. I once told a friend that I felt I did not do enough in the 2008 election and that I would be actively engaged in the 2012 election if Ron Paul decided to run again since I was disillusioned with Obama’s lip service to “Hope & Change”. In addition, I told him that I would regret it if I just sat around and allowed the primary elections to result with a lying, shifty personality running against an already disappointing President. With Paul’s official announcement, I began working with the local grassroots movement and taking a role contributing in social media outreach in the NY state and NYC metro area.

I know there are many out there who think the other Republicans candidates are better than Ron Paul is and this is because they believe either the other candidates are a guarantee in helping Obama be reelected or they have serious misconceptions about Dr. Ron Paul. This is something I plan to discuss in a later post.

Not about 9/11

Today is the 10th Anniversary of September 11 in America, and rapper Ludacris’ birthday.  In Chile, it was the day when Allende was overthrown and replaced by Augusto Pinochet with help from the CIA.  Today is another day where they opened the 9/11 Memorial to honour the victims of that day and to show off the in-progress “Freedom Tower”, which in all honestly pales compared to the original towers.  In about 4 years or 2015, the new World Trade Center 1 building or “Freedom Tower” will be ready for commercial use and for tourists.  Seriously, the only people I see around Lower Manhattan are mostly tourists, regularly visiting the mass grave site and the death of the America many of them either hardly cared for or took for granted.

Since that fateful day in 2001, America has exploited this human tragedy to engage in a modern-day crusade against Arabs, to grab more power from the people in the name of security, and to promote a culture of short-term thinking. The War of Terror as it is known in the rest of the world, has resulted in a weak Iraq that is now run by an Iranian puppet, an Afghanistan that is now our version of the Soviet occupation of the country, and it has encouraged average Arab citizens in the region to take matters into their own hands after realising that America does not care for them despite paying lip service over democratic rights.  Since 9/11, the government has now taken more control over the people with the implementation of the PATRIOT ACT that undermines due process, healthcare reform that only benefits the healthcare providers, and blanket bailouts that reward businesses for bad behaviour.  Even worse, is the growing  trend of Americans simply living in the present with the assumption that there is no bright future, which results in actions that are rooted in a narrow worldview.

The one question that we all need to ask is: “Are we better off than we were 10 years ago”? In my view, despite all the advances in electronics, web 2.0, and the fact an ethnic minority can become President in America, overall things are worse than they are a decade ago.  The country called the United States of America is now reaching a breaking point with a government based on “checks and balances” stonewalling the other for fickle votes, an economy that is now becoming increasingly locked into a Lost Decade, and a culture that celebrates people not based on their merits but on their abilities to be vulgar on camera.

All of this hoopla over the 10th Anniversary of 9/11 has reached the point where I stopped caring about it. Yes, 9/11 was a gross human tragedy that was the result of bureaucratic incompetence from both the Federal government and the Bush Administration.  Yes, many people who died that day did not deserve to be attacked by a bunch of confused, ignorant and weak-minded men with ties to an anti-American Saudi named Osama Bin Laden.  Yes, America did have a right to go into Afghanistan to get Al-Qaida and Bin Laden after what had happened in 9/11.  However, all of this was undermined by Bush’s need to exploit the tragedy to invade Iraq for its resources and its strategic location in the Middle East and Bush’s handling of the tragedy, in addition to invading Iraq, only created more distrust towards America and its government.

The oversimplified explanation that 9/11 happened because “Muslims hated America’s Freedoms” was a great answer for many Americans but it fueled distrust and anger from others.  This answer and the general handling of the tragedy was why a “9/11 Truth” movement emerged in response to anger at Bush’s invasion of Iraq and the distrust in government.  Most of these Truthers only believe the conspiracy because they are ignorant of the real science behind the attacks while some are in the movement to protest the Bush Administration or use it to find answers about the attacks on their own terms.  These people are not crazy, loony, or outcasts as the American media portrays them but rather people who are confused, angry, and distrustful of the government and their exploitation of the 9/11 tragedy for political and economic gains.  I think the 9/11 attacks occurred as they were presented but there was most likely a cover-up to mask any instances of incompetence from the Bush Administration in preventing or reducing the real attacks themselves.

The death of Osama Bin Laden should have brought closure to the tragedy on 9/11 but it was used as a cheap excuse to celebrate in the midst of an American decline.  Also, as a result of the poor handling of the Bin Laden Kill Mission by the Obama Administration, people now have started questioning the exact circumstances of the mission, and whether there was any real confirmation of his death.  None of this was made any better by the media’s acceptance of the official account at face value instead of investigating or asking tough questions of what really happened.  The media is also at fault for turning today’s 10-year anniversary into a celebration of sorts when it is nothing but a gross American tragedy that brought the country in the wrong direction at the cost of its people.

Why I refuse to be apathetic in America

“First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the liberals,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a liberal.

Then they came for the Muslims,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Muslim.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.”

Charter 08 – 零八宪章

English Version:

I. Foreword

A hundred years have passed since the writing of China’s first constitution. 2008 also marks the sixtieth anniversary of the promulgation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the thirtieth anniversary of the appearance of Democracy Wall in Beijing, and the tenth of China’s signing of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. We are approaching the twentieth anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen massacre of pro-democracy student protesters. The Chinese people, who have endured human rights disasters and uncountable struggles across these same years, now include many who see clearly that freedom, equality, and human rights are universal values of humankind and that democracy and constitutional government are the fundamental framework for protecting these values.

By departing from these values, the Chinese government’s approach to “modernization” has proven disastrous. It has stripped people of their rights, destroyed their dignity, and corrupted normal human intercourse. So we ask: Where is China headed in the twenty-first century? Will it continue with “modernization” under authoritarian rule, or will it embrace universal human values, join the mainstream of civilized nations, and build a democratic system? There can be no avoiding these questions.

The shock of the Western impact upon China in the nineteenth century laid bare a decadent authoritarian system and marked the beginning of what is often called “the greatest changes in thousands of years” for China. A “self-strengthening movement” followed, but this aimed simply at appropriating the technology to build gunboats and other Western material objects. China’s humiliating naval defeat at the hands of Japan in 1895 only confirmed the obsolescence of China’s system of government. The first attempts at modern political change came with the ill-fated summer of reforms in 1898, but these were cruelly crushed by ultraconservatives at China’s imperial court. With the revolution of 1911, which inaugurated Asia’s first republic, the authoritarian imperial system that had lasted for centuries was finally supposed to have been laid to rest. But social conflict inside our country and external pressures were to prevent it; China fell into a patchwork of warlord fiefdoms and the new republic became a fleeting dream.

The failure of both “self-strengthening” and political renovation caused many of our forebears to reflect deeply on whether a “cultural illness” was afflicting our country. This mood gave rise, during the May Fourth Movement of the late 1910s, to the championing of “science and democracy.” Yet that effort, too, foundered as warlord chaos persisted and the Japanese invasion [beginning in Manchuria in 1931] brought national crisis.

Victory over Japan in 1945 offered one more chance for China to move toward modern government, but the Communist defeat of the Nationalists in the civil war thrust the nation into the abyss of totalitarianism. The “new China” that emerged in 1949 proclaimed that “the people are sovereign” but in fact set up a system in which “the Party is all-powerful.” The Communist Party of China seized control of all organs of the state and all political, economic, and social resources, and, using these, has produced a long trail of human rights disasters, including, among many others, the Anti-Rightist Campaign (1957), the Great Leap Forward (1958–1960), the Cultural Revolution (1966–1969), the June Fourth (Tiananmen Square) Massacre (1989), and the current repression of all unauthorized religions and the suppression of the weiquan rights movement [a movement that aims to defend citizens' rights promulgated in the Chinese Constitution and to fight for human rights recognized by international conventions that the Chinese government has signed]. During all this, the Chinese people have paid a gargantuan price. Tens of millions have lost their lives, and several generations have seen their freedom, their happiness, and their human dignity cruelly trampled.

During the last two decades of the twentieth century the government policy of “Reform and Opening” gave the Chinese people relief from the pervasive poverty and totalitarianism of the Mao Zedong era and brought substantial increases in the wealth and living standards of many Chinese as well as a partial restoration of economic freedom and economic rights. Civil society began to grow, and popular calls for more rights and more political freedom have grown apace. As the ruling elite itself moved toward private ownership and the market economy, it began to shift from an outright rejection of “rights” to a partial acknowledgment of them.

In 1998 the Chinese government signed two important international human rights conventions; in 2004 it amended its constitution to include the phrase “respect and protect human rights”; and this year, 2008, it has promised to promote a “national human rights action plan.” Unfortunately most of this political progress has extended no further than the paper on which it is written. The political reality, which is plain for anyone to see, is that China has many laws but no rule of law; it has a constitution but no constitutional government. The ruling elite continues to cling to its authoritarian power and fights off any move toward political change.

The stultifying results are endemic official corruption, an undermining of the rule of law, weak human rights, decay in public ethics, crony capitalism, growing inequality between the wealthy and the poor, pillage of the natural environment as well as of the human and historical environments, and the exacerbation of a long list of social conflicts, especially, in recent times, a sharpening animosity between officials and ordinary people.

As these conflicts and crises grow ever more intense, and as the ruling elite continues with impunity to crush and to strip away the rights of citizens to freedom, to property, and to the pursuit of happiness, we see the powerless in our society—the vulnerable groups, the people who have been suppressed and monitored, who have suffered cruelty and even torture, and who have had no adequate avenues for their protests, no courts to hear their pleas—becoming more militant and raising the possibility of a violent conflict of disastrous proportions. The decline of the current system has reached the point where change is no longer optional.

II. Our Fundamental Principles

This is a historic moment for China, and our future hangs in the balance. In reviewing the political modernization process of the past hundred years or more, we reiterate and endorse basic universal values as follows:

Freedom. Freedom is at the core of universal human values. Freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, freedom of association, freedom in where to live, and the freedoms to strike, to demonstrate, and to protest, among others, are the forms that freedom takes. Without freedom, China will always remain far from civilized ideals.

Human rights. Human rights are not bestowed by a state. Every person is born with inherent rights to dignity and freedom. The government exists for the protection of the human rights of its citizens. The exercise of state power must be authorized by the people. The succession of political disasters in China’s recent history is a direct consequence of the ruling regime’s disregard for human rights.

Equality. The integrity, dignity, and freedom of every person—regardless of social station, occupation, sex, economic condition, ethnicity, skin color, religion, or political belief—are the same as those of any other. Principles of equality before the law and equality of social, economic, cultural, civil, and political rights must be upheld.

Republicanism. Republicanism, which holds that power should be balanced among different branches of government and competing interests should be served, resembles the traditional Chinese political ideal of “fairness in all under heaven.” It allows different interest groups and social assemblies, and people with a variety of cultures and beliefs, to exercise democratic self-government and to deliberate in order to reach peaceful resolution of public questions on a basis of equal access to government and free and fair competition.

Democracy. The most fundamental principles of democracy are that the people are sovereign and the people select their government. Democracy has these characteristics: (1) Political power begins with the people and the legitimacy of a regime derives from the people. (2) Political power is exercised through choices that the people make. (3) The holders of major official posts in government at all levels are determined through periodic competitive elections. (4) While honoring the will of the majority, the fundamental dignity, freedom, and human rights of minorities are protected. In short, democracy is a modern means for achieving government truly “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

Constitutional rule. Constitutional rule is rule through a legal system and legal regulations to implement principles that are spelled out in a constitution. It means protecting the freedom and the rights of citizens, limiting and defining the scope of legitimate government power, and providing the administrative apparatus necessary to serve these ends.

III. What We Advocate

Authoritarianism is in general decline throughout the world; in China, too, the era of emperors and overlords is on the way out. The time is arriving everywhere for citizens to be masters of states. For China the path that leads out of our current predicament is to divest ourselves of the authoritarian notion of reliance on an “enlightened overlord” or an “honest official” and to turn instead toward a system of liberties, democracy, and the rule of law, and toward fostering the consciousness of modern citizens who see rights as fundamental and participation as a duty. Accordingly, and in a spirit of this duty as responsible and constructive citizens, we offer the following recommendations on national governance, citizens’ rights, and social development:

1. A New Constitution. We should recast our present constitution, rescinding its provisions that contradict the principle that sovereignty resides with the people and turning it into a document that genuinely guarantees human rights, authorizes the exercise of public power, and serves as the legal underpinning of China’s democratization. The constitution must be the highest law in the land, beyond violation by any individual, group, or political party.

2. Separation of powers. We should construct a modern government in which the separation of legislative, judicial, and executive power is guaranteed. We need an Administrative Law that defines the scope of government responsibility and prevents abuse of administrative power. Government should be responsible to taxpayers. Division of power between provincial governments and the central government should adhere to the principle that central powers are only those specifically granted by the constitution and all other powers belong to the local governments.

3. Legislative democracy. Members of legislative bodies at all levels should be chosen by direct election, and legislative democracy should observe just and impartial principles.

4. An Independent Judiciary. The rule of law must be above the interests of any particular political party and judges must be independent. We need to establish a constitutional supreme court and institute procedures for constitutional review. As soon as possible, we should abolish all of the Committees on Political and Legal Affairs that now allow Communist Party officials at every level to decide politically-sensitive cases in advance and out of court. We should strictly forbid the use of public offices for private purposes.

5. Public Control of Public Servants. The military should be made answerable to the national government, not to a political party, and should be made more professional. Military personnel should swear allegiance to the constitution and remain nonpartisan. Political party organizations shall be prohibited in the military. All public officials including police should serve as nonpartisans, and the current practice of favoring one political party in the hiring of public servants must end.

6. Guarantee of Human Rights. There shall be strict guarantees of human rights and respect for human dignity. There should be a Human Rights Committee, responsible to the highest legislative body, that will prevent the government from abusing public power in violation of human rights. A democratic and constitutional China especially must guarantee the personal freedom of citizens. No one shall suffer illegal arrest, detention, arraignment, interrogation, or punishment. The system of “Reeducation through Labor” must be abolished.

7. Election of Public Officials. There shall be a comprehensive system of democratic elections based on “one person, one vote.” The direct election of administrative heads at the levels of county, city, province, and nation should be systematically implemented. The rights to hold periodic free elections and to participate in them as a citizen are inalienable.

8. Rural–Urban Equality. The two-tier household registry system must be abolished. This system favors urban residents and harms rural residents. We should establish instead a system that gives every citizen the same constitutional rights and the same freedom to choose where to live.

9. Freedom to Form Groups. The right of citizens to form groups must be guaranteed. The current system for registering nongovernmental groups, which requires a group to be “approved,” should be replaced by a system in which a group simply registers itself. The formation of political parties should be governed by the constitution and the laws, which means that we must abolish the special privilege of one party to monopolize power and must guarantee principles of free and fair competition among political parties.

10. Freedom to Assemble. The constitution provides that peaceful assembly, demonstration, protest, and freedom of expression are fundamental rights of a citizen. The ruling party and the government must not be permitted to subject these to illegal interference or unconstitutional obstruction.

11. Freedom of Expression. We should make freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and academic freedom universal, thereby guaranteeing that citizens can be informed and can exercise their right of political supervision. These freedoms should be upheld by a Press Law that abolishes political restrictions on the press. The provision in the current Criminal Law that refers to “the crime of incitement to subvert state power” must be abolished. We should end the practice of viewing words as crimes.

12. Freedom of Religion. We must guarantee freedom of religion and belief and institute a separation of religion and state. There must be no governmental interference in peaceful religious activities. We should abolish any laws, regulations, or local rules that limit or suppress the religious freedom of citizens. We should abolish the current system that requires religious groups (and their places of worship) to get official approval in advance and substitute for it a system in which registry is optional and, for those who choose to register, automatic.

13. Civic Education. In our schools we should abolish political curriculums and examinations that are designed to indoctrinate students in state ideology and to instill support for the rule of one party. We should replace them with civic education that advances universal values and citizens’ rights, fosters civic consciousness, and promotes civic virtues that serve society.

14. Protection of Private Property. We should establish and protect the right to private property and promote an economic system of free and fair markets. We should do away with government monopolies in commerce and industry and guarantee the freedom to start new enterprises. We should establish a Committee on State-Owned Property, reporting to the national legislature, that will monitor the transfer of state-owned enterprises to private ownership in a fair, competitive, and orderly manner. We should institute a land reform that promotes private ownership of land, guarantees the right to buy and sell land, and allows the true value of private property to be adequately reflected in the market.

15. Financial and Tax Reform. We should establish a democratically regulated and accountable system of public finance that ensures the protection of taxpayer rights and that operates through legal procedures. We need a system by which public revenues that belong to a certain level of government—central, provincial, county or local—are controlled at that level. We need major tax reform that will abolish any unfair taxes, simplify the tax system, and spread the tax burden fairly. Government officials should not be able to raise taxes, or institute new ones, without public deliberation and the approval of a democratic assembly. We should reform the ownership system in order to encourage competition among a wider variety of market participants.

16. Social Security. We should establish a fair and adequate social security system that covers all citizens and ensures basic access to education, health care, retirement security, and employment.

17. Protection of the Environment. We need to protect the natural environment and to promote development in a way that is sustainable and responsible to our descendents and to the rest of humanity. This means insisting that the state and its officials at all levels not only do what they must do to achieve these goals, but also accept the supervision and participation of non-governmental organizations.

18. A Federated Republic. A democratic China should seek to act as a responsible major power contributing toward peace and development in the Asian Pacific region by approaching others in a spirit of equality and fairness. In Hong Kong and Macao, we should support the freedoms that already exist. With respect to Taiwan, we should declare our commitment to the principles of freedom and democracy and then, negotiating as equals, and ready to compromise, seek a formula for peaceful unification. We should approach disputes in the national-minority areas of China with an open mind, seeking ways to find a workable framework within which all ethnic and religious groups can flourish. We should aim ultimately at a federation of democratic communities of China.

19. Truth in Reconciliation. We should restore the reputations of all people, including their family members, who suffered political stigma in the political campaigns of the past or who have been labeled as criminals because of their thought, speech, or faith. The state should pay reparations to these people. All political prisoners and prisoners of conscience must be released. There should be a Truth Investigation Commission charged with finding the facts about past injustices and atrocities, determining responsibility for them, upholding justice, and, on these bases, seeking social reconciliation.

China, as a major nation of the world, as one of five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, and as a member of the UN Council on Human Rights, should be contributing to peace for humankind and progress toward human rights. Unfortunately, we stand today as the only country among the major nations that remains mired in authoritarian politics. Our political system continues to produce human rights disasters and social crises, thereby not only constricting China’s own development but also limiting the progress of all of human civilization. This must change, truly it must. The democratization of Chinese politics can be put off no longer.

Accordingly, we dare to put civic spirit into practice by announcing Charter 08. We hope that our fellow citizens who feel a similar sense of crisis, responsibility, and mission, whether they are inside the government or not, and regardless of their social status, will set aside small differences to embrace the broad goals of this citizens’ movement. Together we can work for major changes in Chinese society and for the rapid establishment of a free, democratic, and constitutional country. We can bring to reality the goals and ideals that our people have incessantly been seeking for more than a hundred years, and can bring a brilliant new chapter to Chinese civilization.


Chinese (中文) Version:




当然具体情况还要具体分析, 说到《和平宪章》,由于特定的艰难条件,它的历史作用主要是打破六四镇压的血腥恐怖,为中国民主运动的再掀高潮铺路,同时作为中国大陆本土的第一个民运纲领性文献为之指明了方向,就它本身的作用而论,并没有起到形成共识、凝聚力量、开创良性互动局面的作用。

第一, 前者非常简约,并且主要是就事论事,没有对历史和理论做多少说明,相反,后者相对全面的回顾了近代历史,并且对普世价值的核心概念作了逐条解说。
第二, 前者重点放在和平转型上,后者重点放在对转型结果的诉求上。
第三, 前者注重的是民主转型的启动操作,后者注重的是宪政民主的建构本身。










《和平宪章》人士中,文凭程度最高的是李海,他是北京大学哲学系研究生,其他人基本上没有高等文凭。与此同时,《和平宪章》人士个个都有非比寻常的社会政治活动实践经验:89民运中,李海是北京大学学生自治会对外联络部部长,刘念春是民主墙时代的民办刊物、朦胧派诗歌的摇篮《今天》的编辑,陈旅是民主墙时代的《人权同盟》的主要成员,沙裕光是民主墙时代的民办刊物《中华四五》的编辑,何德普是民主墙时代民办刊物《北京青年》的编辑,杨周是民主墙时代上海最活跃也最早被判刑的民主斗士,周国强也是民主墙时代的《今天》的编辑,并且是89民运中北京“工自联” 的法律顾问,钱玉民则是北京“工自联”的秘书长!所有这些人都有着很长的民主人权活动的实践经历,也几乎都为民主人权事业坐过牢受过迫害。

《零八宪章》由于在社会上获得了广泛传播的机会,故上到知识界文化界艺术界,下到访民群众和普罗大众都有大量人员签名。但是,如果我掌握的情况不错的话,那么它的起草人则都是具有高等教育背景的知识分子。不仅刘晓波是博士,夏先生是北京大学教授,张先生是宪政学者,其他参与起草和发起的人也都具有很高的学历背景,从事的也都是知识性工作,由于他们所居地位相对较高,在民主人权活动第一线的公开斗争经验较少,缺乏开展民主人权活动的实践经历 ,因此对宪章的草写缺乏操作性考量,没有想一想自己提出来的东西当局有无理论上的可接受性,没有考虑以目前的力量对比自己拿出的宪章能否让当局狗咬刺猬无处下口。


应该说,把人权原则作为第一条要求提出来,在这种情况下就已经涵盖了民主世界的一切现代政治的理论精华,与此同时,当局即使一时不会认可,也没有理由高调反对,更不宜以此治罪,至于此后的各条各款,则都有强烈的针对性,都是国人普遍关心的重大问题,也都必然会在人权和正义基础上获得解决。我们把这些条款提出来,只要能在社会上 流布开来,就不难获得有利害关系的广大民众的热烈拥护和积极参与。





“18、联邦共和:以平等、公正的态度参与维持地区和平与发展,塑造一个负责任的大国形象。维护香港、澳门的自由制度。在自由民主的前提下,通过平等谈判与 合作互动的方式寻求海峡两岸和解方案。以大智慧探索各民族共同繁荣的可能途径和制度设计,在民主宪政的架构下建立中华联邦共和国。”







第一, 从当前说,中共已经掌握了控制国家的超级能力,它的庞大国家机器通过两种手段足以镇压一切和任何暴力反抗的图谋。首先,它的国情监控系统足以查明任何十几个几十个人以上的暴力反抗图谋,所以,规模小了根本不足以撼动中共统治,一切稍有规模的武装反抗中共统治的企图则都不可能不在早期准备中被当局侦破,其次,中国早已不是民众可以“斩木为兵揭竿为旗”既能足以和当局的长矛大刀抗衡并取得胜利的时代,国家暴力足以轻而易举的镇压一切民众的暴力反抗,并且将其真正从肉体上“消灭在萌芽状况”。从这种情况来看,一切暴力革命、武装反抗推翻中共统治的做法都是自寻死路愚不可及。

第二, 中国已经不是二十世纪上半叶的中国,那时中国刚开始进入工业革命时代,大批失地农民成了中共煽动暴力夺取政权的最好愚弄对象,赤贫农民也还和几千年王朝循环时期的农民一样,反正没饭吃,狠下一条心,要么死了拉倒,要么打进京城坐江山。今日中国的社会大众包括农民接受了中共利用大众尤其是农民打江山,打下江山加倍欺压大众和农民的教训,也因为市场经济发展使大多数人有了一点财产,就都希望守着自己的财产过日子,通过自己的劳动一点点的改善生活,不会再受革命家的蛊惑去为成功之将当万具枯骨,还因为这个时代已经成了人人都可以娱乐至死的时代,再穷的人也可以守着个电视机影碟机看个不停,也没有多少人有衣食之虞,故已经没有几个人会铤而走险。总之,凡是在中国大陆的人都清楚,今日中国并不存在能够发动起来进行暴力革命的社会大众

第三, 当然,今天确实有不少聪明人在煽动暴力革命,却绝不担心自己性命难保,因为他们都在国外煽动国内的人这么做,或者在国内躲在无人得知的地方匿名在互联网之类的地方煽动别人这么做,他们惯于让别人去冒风险, 让别人去丧命,他们自己是绝不会在中国大陆本土公开从事他们所号召的暴力革命的。前段时间闹得沸沸扬扬的“革命”鼓噪中,我就亲历了这样一件事:国外某个激进团体派人在网上动员我发动人们这么做的同时,他人在海外尚且还怕我看见了真面目,视屏对话中居然还要把自己藏起来!这么做的人还不聪明至极么?让国内的人去送死,他们是绝对安全的,但这么做的结果能达到他们的“伟大革命目标”?所以,对这些煽动暴力革命的人我要说,如果你在国外,请你回来搞,如果你在国内,请你公开搞,如果你煽动别人,请你亲自搞!几十年来我坚持民主人权活动的同时坚持“和平、理性、非暴力”,并且一直首当其冲身体力行,希望那些煽动搞暴力革命的人也如我知行合一,当尖兵滚地雷始终冲在最前面。

第四, 况且历史的教训早已告诉我们,暴力夺权者必然暴力掌权,绝不会给国家社会带来民主自由,相反,历史的经验充分证明,自由是一波一波的国民运动争得的,民主是在选举制度的实施中一步步发展成熟的,绝不是暴力革命革出来的,暴力革命在最好的情况下也只是赶走了独裁者,从而为建立民主自由的社会开辟道路,更多的则是被野心家利用,是社会在流血漂杵之后还是无法迅速建立民主制度。

第五, 从我们中国的国家、社会、大众的根本利益来说,也只有和平转型是唯一选择。和平转型对国家、社会、大众的利益损害最小,这是就客观效果说;人民不会起来暴力革命,只会起来和平表达意愿,这是从原因上说。对当局而言,暴力革命意味着他们的毁灭,因此只会不计代价的镇压,和平转型以承认他们的许多既得利益为前提,在一定条件下,也就是在民众压力够大,反对派组织够强,同时做法也够温和理性的情况下,当局是完全可以接受的。关于这一点,就涉及到“转型正义”。正义是让一切人随时随地得其所应得,转型正义就是在转型过程中随时随地确保统治者方面的人身财产权利不受侵犯,对其过去在特定历史条件下的罪恶,可以清查,但要赦免——这就是“第一次宽恕”。也就是说,为了和平转型,必须对统治者进行“赎买”,用确保他们的部分特权,同等保障他们的全部人权,来逐步交换他们所掌握的统治权。

第六, 反对和平转型原则的人第一条理由是中共当局犯下了那么多反人类罪,至今还在无恶不作,因此中国没有任何和平转型的希望。在我看来,说中共比德国法西斯还坏证据充分,说中国不能和平转型则毫无道理。中共最残酷的罪行是毛泽东仿效苏联犯下的,邓小平“复辟资本主义”以后一代代又犯了不少反人类罪,但是,毕竟一代比一代要理性一点,总体上说做的孽少一点,再加上他们已经从暴力夺权意识形态至上的军事强人换成了锦衣玉食的天潢贵胄和谨小慎微的技术官僚,其现实利益已经向金钱至上利益至上转化,意识形态是不能谈判不能分割的,所以以前的确无法指望其接受普世价值,现在的基本情况已经完全不同,金钱至上意味着利益至上,而利益是可以切割的。这样,就像台湾的民主转型和对“228”事件的认罪只能发生在蒋氏父子死后一样,到有重大血债的死得差不多了以后,新的统治者在全民压力下被迫和平转型是必然的,因为那时候他们确保既得利益的办法将不再是把持保不住的绝对权力,在能确保其生命财产安全的前提下,当然是顺应历史潮流。










1 白人男子的私有财产权
2 言论自由权
3 信仰自由权



比方说,在没有进行过基层选举、没有自由政党, 或者基层选举还没有坚实的基础、自由政党还没有充分运作的情况下,能够搞好全国领导人和国会的选举吗?




(十几年来,大陆上的经济体制发生了巨大变化,对此我们深表赞赏 。然而,正如当代世界历定事实已充分表明的,市场经济的迅猛发展必然要求实行多元化的民主政治。鉴于当前世界结束冷战,走向新秩序,鉴于所有中国人都关注中国未来的和平发展,我们特提出本宪章。)






















刘念春 邮编:100027
杨周 邮编:200002 电话:3732605
秦永敏 邮编:430080



Ideology Cannot Be Linear

Ideology Cannot Be Linear

In this day and age, we are all very accustomed to the idea of left versus right in terms of the political/ideological spectrum. Traditionally, we are taught that those on the left, the so-called liberals, encourage high government spending on social programs and socially liberal government policies and laws, while those on the right, the conservatives, discourage spending, favor business and military spending, and promote more restrictive or conservative policies and laws. This dichotomy (left v. right) has its origins in revolutionary France, when the members of the National Assembly were arranged into supporters of the monarchy on the right (of the king) and supporters of revolution on the left. When the French Revolution came into full swing, the new Legislative Assembly found moderates seated in the center, “innovators” sat on the left (of the center), and “conscientious defenders of the constitution” were seated on the right. This left-versus-right dichotomy became increasingly prevalent in the mid-19th century with the rise of Marxism as an ideology, and probably entered the common parlance (at least in the European languages) around the turn of the 20th century.

Whatever the history of the currently-popular political spectrum, its linearity is misleading in that it is used to broadly apply to a number or collection of issues that are not actually dichotomous in the way in which individuals perceive them. While this set of issues differs from place to place and country to country, most countries today have a few sets of issues in common that are associated with one or another aspect on the spectrum. These issues would include gay rights, the legality of abortion (or lack thereof), the role of religion in society, military expenditure relative to national wealth/income, the use of tax breaks versus public welfare programs, and the emphasis on/preference for large or small business. Generally-speaking, people are led to believe that the majority of individuals identifying as one side or another on the political spectrum will have a particular preference in common depending on the side, with moderates taking a somewhat middle approach to addressing these issues in contrast to more extreme approaches on the left and the right. We are led to believe that those on the far or fringe right are akin to Nazis and are quite often hardcore racists and survivalists, whose views are ultranationalistic, fascist, or reactionary. We are also led to believe that those on the far left are Communists, anarchists, or radicals whose aims are to radically upend the social order and effect dramatic political change in favor of egalitarianism. Our experiences contribute to our understanding that either extreme can and does lead to terrorism.

But that’s not where the commonalities end. Both ends of the political spectrum have two major approaches to government: Facists and ultranationalists tend to promote the dominion of the State as ultimate authority and representative of the people; Communists and radicals promote the State as the ultimate expression of the will of the people and preach subservience of the individual to the will of the group (i.e. the State). Some survivalists and reactionaries abhor government, particularly many modern forms, and advocate a retreat from all centralized government and promote self-reliance and subsistence living; anarchists exhibit a similar abhorrence of government (albeit for different reasons) and not only promote a retreat from centralized government but its destruction as an institution.

The funny thing about all this is that, in the broadest sense and in terms of practical application, on a linear spectrum, a Communist becomes a Fascist the moment he starts caring only about his own people, and a Fascist becomes a Communist the moment he starts considering the welfare (or at least the utility) of other people in addition to his own.

A linear understanding of political ideology will lead to such obvious paradoxes. Facists certainly do not share the same social or ideological principles as Communists, or at the very least the two groups will have two very distinct answers to the same questions of principle.

While one’s general secular social outlook and perspectives may color the way in which one tends to perceive questions of principle and responses to issues, a number of other influences inevitably play significant roles (some greater than others, and some greater even than one’s social outlook/perspectives) on the way in which one perceives questions of principle and responses to issues. One’s moral and/or religious outlook/interpretations, or lack thereof, would be expected to have a great influence on one’s political perceptions. One’s cultural identity would as well (for instance, in America, most individuals would not be ready to embrace a Communist approach to issues, even on the left, while many in Russia might be expect to do so, even in Russia’s right wing). One’s sexual orientation might affect perception on a specific issue but not on any others (see the Log Cabin Republicans for a seemingly paradoxical example – they are paradoxical only on a linear political spectrum).

In a nod to this realization, the mass media in recent years has begun referring to aspects of other political spectra, especially libertarians (traditionally socially liberal and fiscally conservative) but not so much populists (socially conservative and fiscally liberal). However, the as-yet consistent adherence to a linear political spectrum has caused the media to portray libertarians as a different brand or possibly more liberal form of conservative (i.e. moderate), which is an inaccurate characterization.

Additionally, where one is (i.e. where one lives as opposed to where one considers to be the homeland or home town) is likely to affect one’s political ideology: for instance, in the U.S., my opinions and perceptions tend to be centrist, only slightly left of center (or slightly right, depending on the particular spectrum and its emphasis on various issues) and borderline libertarian, but in Korea, my opinions and perceptions would be relative to my feelings for Korea, not the U.S., and I suspect that I would come out strongly on the right and probably borderline authoritarian.

Ultimately, it is evident that political ideology cannot be linear and should not be perceived even as two-dimensional; it is time we started thinking as such.

If You Love Peace, Become a “Blue Republican” (Just for a Year)

If You Love Peace, Become a “Blue Republican” (Just for a Year)

Publisher, WatchingAmerica.com

Posted: 7/7/11 12:00 PM ET

The world lost its goodwill toward the USA when Americans voted for George W. Bush the second time around.

I don’t endorse the idea that American politics should be dictated by foreign opinions but a reading of the foreign press over the last six years reveals that the first election of President Bush Jr. was largely excused around the world since no one could have known what this new president was going to do.
Moreover, America arguably didn’t vote for him anyway in 2000.

However, the second election President Bush was not excused, because by 2004, the modus operandi of the Bush administration was clear. He wanted to 1) conduct wars against countries that did not threaten us (e.g. Iraq), 2) oversee large financial benefits to companies with which those in his administration were close (e.g. Halliburton), 3) establish a legal framework for riding roughshod over the liberties of private individuals who are not suspected of crime (e.g. Patriot Act), and 4) establish a massive federal apparatus to carry out such intrusions on innocent Americans in what is becoming a police state (e.g. domestic wiretapping, TSA etc… )

The more-or-less global delight upon Obama’s election in 2008 followed largely from the hope that Americans had realized what a mistake they had made with Bush’s second term and were therefore voting against the egregious actions of the then Republican establishment.

When most Americans voted for “Hope” and “Change,” the above four objectives were at the top of their list of what they “hoped” would be “changed.”

After two years, however, we now see that Obama 1) conducts wars against countries that do not threaten us (e.g. Libya, Yemen etc.), 2) oversees large financial benefits to companies with which those in his administration were close (e.g. Goldman Sachs), 3) supports the legal framework for riding roughshod over the liberties of private individuals who are not suspected of crime (e.g. Patriot Act), and 4) is growing a massive federal apparatus to carry out such intrusions on innocent Americans in what is becoming a police state (e.g. domestic wiretapping, TSA etc.. )

Put another way, when it comes to such things as the killing of innocent people, taking from the common man to support cronies, and the elimination of the basic values that make our lives worth living, we had the hope, but we haven’t had the change.

Just as in 2000, Bush hadn’t shown his true colors, in 2008, Obama had not either. A vote for either in those years was fair enough. But in 2012, if you vote for the Democratic nominee for president, you better have a moral justification that is SO good that it is a) worth killing innocent people who don’t threaten you, b) transferring wealth to the rich and well connected, and c) the complete suspension of your right to privacy and such basic rights as protecting your child from being touched by a government official with the full force of the law behind him as he just follows his orders.

Do I labor the point? Good.

I don’t believe that such a justification exists. I’m having difficulty seeing how a Democrat who voted for Obama (whom I supported) for the right reasons in 2008 can in good conscience do so again given that there is another candidate who has been consistent in his opposition to all of these things — not just in words but in deeds.

If you’ve read my other pieces, you already know who he is. But if not, you should also know that Ron Paul has voted to let states make their own laws on abortion, gay marriage etc. and to let individuals follow their own social conscience — even when he disagrees with them (as I disagree with him on some of these issues). In other words, he is consistent in his beliefs in civil liberty.

If you are a Democrat, and you sit tight and vote Democrat again “because you’ve always been a Democrat” or because you think that some group with which you identity will benefit more from Democrat programs than a Republican one, then that is up to you, and I wish you well. But don’t you dare pretend that you are motivated primarily by peace, civil rights or a government that treats people equally.

That Ron Paul, who has been standing up for these principles quietly for half a lifetime, happens to be a member of the Republican party is a lot less important than the principles that we should be voting on. The fact that he is not a party guy should be obvious from his extensive differences in policy from his party and the fact that many think, given his views, he should not run as a Republican at all.

As Dr. Paul often points out, however, we live in a country with a corrupt political party duopoly… and the system is stacked against anyone who would run outside the two party system. So he’s doing what he has to do. And so should we as Americans who love peace and freedom. It really isn’t complicated.

Now, I know that the Republican party stinks to many Democrats and Independents who care about social justice and civil rights, but we all need to be smart and play the system to get the political outcomes we seek: you don’t have to like a party or even identify with it to sign up as a Republican for a year to help make sure that the Republican primaries are won by the one representative who has always been for peace, has always voted against bailouts, and has always opposed the reach of government into your bedroom, your relationships and your person.

And if you are a Democrat or socially progressive Independent, you can’t tell me you weren’t hoping for all that from Obama.

Perhaps you see too much small-mindedness, or mean spirit or religious craziness in the Republican party. Sure you do. You can find all of them in spades. But since you can’t change the Democrat ticket for 2012, why not act where you can make a positive change — by telling the Republican party where you really want it to go… in the direction of peace and civil liberty (both of which, if you go back just a little way, can be found in the traditions of republicanism).

Just in case you need to make it absolutely clear for your friends at work that you have not gone to the dark side, I offer you a special moniker to set yourselves apart and give yourself a way back once you’ve done what needs to be done — the “Blue Republican” — to signify, of course, your liberal sensibilities and perhaps even your history as a Democratic voter. (Or why not just tell your friends that Bill Maher and Jon Stewart seem to have already gotten the message?)

I am aware that the main objection to Ron Paul from the left concerns his belief that private charities and individuals are more effective in maintaining social welfare than the government. To this I ask one question. Do you believe so much in the effectiveness of our current centralized delivery of social welfare that it is worth the war making and the abrogation of civil rights supported by both Bush and Obama’s administrations? Moreover, while Ron Paul would look to transition out of the huge federally run welfare programs in the long-run, that’s not where he wants to start: his immediate fight would be to bring our forces back to the USA and to re-implement the Bill of Rights.

Ron Paul’s electoral weakness is not a difficulty in winning a presidential election. It is in winning a primary in a party with a Conservative constituency that includes the religious right and neo-cons. An influx of peace and freedom-loving independents and Democrats would change the math on the Republican side and potentially the future of America by setting up a presidential contest with a pro peace, pro-civil rights candidate (who could outflank Obama on those issues, at least, from the left).

Again, this isn’t an endorsement of the Republican party or a claim that the Republican record is better than the Democrat on any of the issues discussed in this article. (It isn’t.) It is not even a statement that Dr. Paul is some kind of panacea of American politics. Rather, it is to recognize simply that the one potential Presidential candidate who wishes to stop killing innocent people in foreign wars and stop transferring the wealth of poor and working Americans to the corporate elites happens to be — this time around — a Republican.

It is also to recognize that any other political choice is for a status quo in which all the issues that really matter (war and peace, civil rights) are settled for the military industrial complex and the interests of the State over the individual.

So what’ll it be — same old team allegiance or new, Blue Republicans?

National Inflation Association (NIA) Scam Warning from Peter Schiff

Their primary newsletters basically steal credit from Peter Schiff’s commentary or views while their follow-up newsletters are the ones with pump-and-dump stock recommendations.  Some NIA primary newsletters on current economic and social concerns were posted in the past in this site and are in line with views from Peter Schiff, Ron Paul and to a lesser extent, Jim Rogers.  However, I was unfamiliar with the fact that this is a scam until recently with the help of concerned readers.  Watch this video to learn more about NIA and for more rational advice on current economic issues.  It is true that America is going through an inflationary crisis but it is nowhere near the levels NIA claims to be.

The moment of doubt.

It’s always something that will jolt me back into whatever I should be doing. Whether it involves getting into a better career path or getting back in shape. Something has to happen before I start taking that part of my life under control.

I remember last summer going with a friend to the Gansevoort in the meatpacking district just for kicks and to meet new people.  We knew people who could get us in and we got there before it got too crowded.  Just my luck, I ran into an old friend I had not seen since 2008 despite staying in touch via Facebook and messenger. He was completely suited up and was there to celebrate his show’s success in getting expanded to a daily format. He talked about how he was involved in activism and caught the attention of some media personalities in need of someone of his experience and political views. One meeting led to another and he became the producer. I really was glad he made it after going through some challenges several years ago. At the same time,  it struck me that I really didn’t advance in my professional life I had hoped. I was scapegoated in my previous position and I basically had to start over when I joined a new account team. The pay did not increase and the company gave all employees a paycut regardless of performance as a cost cutting measure to stabilise their precious share price.

It really hit me that night out and I lost the mood to enjoy the night. It was more complicated when I saw a coworker there enjoying his professional and personal growth with his friends and girlfriend as well. It really felt like everyone was moving ahead while I was left behind with a few others. I wound up leaving the place with my friend after spending less than two hours there.

After that night, I made an effort at my current position with the new account team. The effort rarely paid off as I was being micromanaged with no chance to work independently and based on my actual workload. There was also no guarantee that I would even get a raise, let alone promoted.

I knew this was a dead-end and I started working on getting myself out of this professional rut. For starters, I hired a professional writer to help update my resume based on my work experience with the hope it would get attention from better companies and highlights skills that I may have overlooked. It was also good luck that a headhunter reached out to me with an opportunity at a company I had strong interest in. In the end, I managed to quit my dead-end job and start at a place that is closer to my professional goals.

Now I find myself facing a similar situation in my personal life. I was in a serious relationship for over a year before it ended thanks to my previous position and from an increasingly unappreciative girlfriend. It took me time before I decided to go on a rebound relationship with a girl setup by friends. After three months, she decided to break up without reason and the friends who set me up with her didn’t care and blamed me for it without caring how it happened. It was messed up that she stopped on a whim but it was even more disappointing the way people who I thought were my friends reacted.

I decided to simply stop bothering to meet new people or girls after those chain of events. I was growing sick of the revolving door friends in the NYC social scene and I was tired of being hurt and worn down by immature and petty girls. I just had it with the entire New York social scene and only trusted my friends from childhood, NJ and college while everyone else is a potential revolving door friend who could disappoint me or drop me at will.  There would be no real reason to go to social events other than professional reasons or for appearances.

Then recently, I met someone at one of these social outings. She was approachable and had a very interesting background. It was also helped by the fact she liked cute things. We were having a fun conversation about current news and random stuff until an old friend ran into her. It turned out that they knew each other from a previous job but lost touch for many years. They really hit it off and I felt lost in the conversation as the event became more crowded and hard to follow. We exchanged numbers and emails and seemed interested in knowing more about some things we discussed, but I really felt I could have made things move in a better direction.  I held back and got lost in the scene because I was wary of making new fake friends and the prospect of a failed connection or more.  It got awkward at the end and I wound up leaving early that night.

The missed connection is bothering me and still bothers me. It’s becoming one of those moments that will get me to reassert myself in this area. It sometimes can be hard distinguishing between someone who can be a good friend from one who will work himself out of a circle of friends for petty reasons. It’s even harder to find a connection in a hectic career and with similar backgrounds despite being in such a large city. I really am unsure how I will get myself out of this predicament and I know this needs to be done or else I will keep having these moments in my personal life.

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